Lausanne, Switzerland, October 2, 2018 – Poland’s players and staff have been welcomed back home as national heroes following the successful defence of their FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship title on Sunday.
Vital Heynen’s team beat Brazil 3-0 (28-26, 25-20, 25-23) to win their third world title. The Italy-Bulgaria 2018 gold medal match at the Pala Alpitour was a repeat of the Poland 2014 final, and sparked huge celebrations in Poland, and Polish communities around the world.
The team flew into Warsaw’s Chopin Airport where they were greeted by legions of fans, desperate to glimpse their heroes.
“We couldn’t miss out on being here,” high school students Jola and Magdalena said. “We have been supporting out team for years and been to several matches in Poland. We didn’t go to Italy, but we promised we will be there in four years time.”
After meeting their delirious fans, and conducting a press conference the team travelled from the airport to the centre of Warsaw where they were given an official welcome by prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“In a sport as popular as volleyball, winning consecutive world titles is a magnificent achievement,” Mr Morawiecki told the team. “I am delighted that you were able to bring together your individual skills for the benefit of the squad.”
The team presented Mr Morawiecki with a signed shirt and then dined with him at the prime ministerial residence.
“We would like to thank the state for investing so well in volleyball,” captain Michal Kubiak said. “Thank you for helping our team develop so that we can go to tournaments and win titles. Our success is success for all those who have contributed to the development of volleyball in this country, and we hope to bring you more titles and medals.”
On Tuesday the team had an early start to meet Polish president Andrzej Duda. It completed a whirlwind 48 hours for Poland’s players and staff, even if the celebrations are likely to continue for some time yet.